Nearly 1,400 international and domestic travel buyers, the highest since 2001, attended the US Travel Association’s 46th annual IPW, described as the travel industry’s premier international marketplace.
This week more than 6,200 travel suppliers and buyers from over 70 countries, including 500 international and domestic media, met in Chicago; it is the largest single generator of travel to the United States.
Over the course of three days at IPW, or International Pow Wow, the intensive deal-meetings are expected to attract 8.8 additional international visitors to the United States over the next three years. Their visits over that period are projected to increase total spending by $28 billion — money that supports nearly 115,000 American jobs.
IPW brings together tourism officials from every corner of the country, as well as representatives of hotels, attractions, museums, amusement parks and other travel businesses. These groups market themselves to the world’s top international tour operators that sell travel to the United States.
At IPW, buyers and sellers are able to conduct business that would otherwise be generated only through an exhaustive number of around-the-world trips.
“At IPW, the entire international marketplace comes to the United States under one roof,” said US Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow.
“We certainly have a lot of work to do,” Dow said during an IPW press briefing. “The US government is beginning to understand what so many other countries have understood for decades that travel is the front door to economic development and job growth.”
Jimmy Eichelgruen, director of sales for Africa, Middle East and Indian Subcontinent for Delta Air Lines, and chair of the International Pow Wow Selection Committee for Saudi Arabia & Bahrain, agreed.
“The past few years have seen a gradual increase of visitors from Saudi Arabia traveling to the United States for leisure and higher studies. The US Embassy in Riyadh issues approximately 100,000 US visas annually and around 50,000 Saudi students are currently studying in the United States, Eichelgruen told Arab News.
“This is an important revenue stream for airlines serving the Kingdom as these students generally take several trips, all well as family members…between Saudi Arabia and the United States each year,” Eichelgruen added.